I still have a handful of projects I made at March Craft Camp that never got blogged. Since another CC is upon us, I figured I’d better get to that! Some of the photos are from this past weekend, and some from right after the camp, which explains the hair difference.

First, what’s not here. I made another binge dress out of gaberdine from spotlight. I had some fit issues with it, and some construction issues (invisible zip wouldn’t cooperate, gaberdine is lovely to work with but shows imprecise sewing quite clearly with puckers and pulling seams) but the biggest one is that I had thought I added seam allowances to the pattern when I adjusted and traced it. And, can you guess? Yup, I had not. So I sewed a dress that was beautifully fitted dress except that it was 1cm too small everywhere. I soldiered on but when I got home and was going to fix the zip, I finally admitted that it was just too small ever to be comfortable. I threw it into the bin. Whomp whomp!

Also there is another binge dress, thankfully started after I figured out why the first one was so tight, so that I could add s/a. It’s made out of lawn from Spotlight, read with butterflies on it. It just needs a zip and a hem, but given it’s turned for too cold to wear it, I haven’t been motivated to fix it. This was what held up blogging – I was holding off until I finished the butterfly dress and the Anna dress but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

Anna dress! I have been wanting to sew the By Hand London Anna dress for a long time. In fact this one has been to craft camp twice now. Once I muslined it and determined I’d definitely need an FBA – the front panel looked perfect, the pleats were placed and released perfectly, but the side seams were at a sharp angle. I seriously considered just angling them out but decided to be proper and do an FBA. So this craft camp I did that, rotated the dart created by the adjustment into the pleats and made up what I was hoping would be a wearable muslin. However, the poplin – just the cheap polyester stuff from spotters – is so rubbish I doubt it will be. And since it’s poly it’s not breathable enough to even be a pleasant summer housedress.

I WRESTLED with the pleats, just could not get them to sit right, to release properly, nothing. It was so frustrating, since the ones in the too-small bodice had been just perfect. I ended up making them darts. I got the bodice fitted, and sewed on the skirt – I needed to sew the seam allowances smaller, to allow it to be big enough for the adjusted bodice, so the side seams don’t match. It appeared to fit well. When I got home I sewed the zip in, and…

Huge. Sack.

I have lost a little bit of weight since I muslined it, and while it’s not much it has slightly changed the shape of my upper bust. But not my waist, where it is also too big. So…. I don’t know whether the new fit issues are a result of that, or of the change in fit once the skirt is dragging it down and it’s actually zipped, rather than held together while I look in a mirror, which of course would change my posture. So I’m not sure whether to go back to the original bodice, which appears to fit now, or whether to add in a couple more pleats. I suspect, given that the skirt doesn’t match up, that I probably should have made the pleats wider to begin with – I was kind of winging it because I forgot to mark their placement and then got cross about it all and we all know that being cross and sewing really lead to good decisions, right?

Here it is with extra pleats pinned in. Much better, but I’m not super thrilled with the big fold above my armpit. I guess it’s not so obvious here, but when I’m wearing it and looking down at myself it’s very obvious and annoying. And affects the way the dress sits as I move, which is more to the point. This is why I avoid kimono/cut on sleeves, they are not kind to those of us with a big difference between high and upper bust, I’ve found. I mean it stands to reason, there’s basically a big hollow where the sleeve would meet, so of course there’s going to be a fold. It’s why I have such struggles with too-low armscyes, too.

Anyway, I’ll have to play around with this a bit I think. Maybe next craft camp! I have some rayon I want to use to make a maxi version, and it’s already been two summers since I planned this, I’m determined it won’t be a third.

I also sewed some skirts.

First up is another Simplicity 1541, as made here, in the same gaberdine as my ill-fated binge dress. I liked that skirt but I had had to adjust it so much after wearing it for a while, that it was a bit of a disaster. So I cut it apart and compared it to the pattern.

Pretty big difference. I traced my skirt piece and made it up again.

There are pull lines here but I don’t think they are that obvious in person. It has also settled a bit and the seams, which started out a little bit puckery, sit fine now. The zip insertion could have gone better, though.

This is why I didn’t do zips on my other things at camp. I am not precise enough to be able to sew  invisible or, indeed, lapped zippers without leaning heavily on my tools. Suse kindly lends me her lovely old Elna, which is a delight but offers no crutches for the sloppy seamstress. So, zips at home. Also this is not technically an invisible zip, I discovered upon sewing in. It’s a ‘separating zipper’. Because Spotlight is perpetually out of black zips, so I took what I could get. You’d think they’d be on top of that, since I’d assume they want to sell lots of zips. (Hahahahaha! Good one, right?) I stocked up on skirt zips at the Fabric Store in Melbourne, though, so I should be right for a while.

You can also see that the back kick pleat is a bit wonky, I can’t remember why I furfed that one up. It’s not too bad on, but here it is flat

At some point I might redo the zip because it’s not super great, and occasionally gets stuck halfway. Luckily I don’t need to unzip all the way to get it on.

And here’s the front, with a slightly wibbly hem. Note to self, next time make the hem longer so you can do a proper blind hem.

Not perfect, but I wear it all the time and it’s holding up well and looks perfectly fine in person. At least, no one’s said anything yet!

Next two are what I guess you could call binge skirts! That same ottobre skirt I’ve made a million times. First in plain old drill

I see I am having that same pulling issue. I wonder if it is a sewing flaw I keep replicating, or something to do with the angle of my stomach? Perhaps I should smooth out the bottom curve of that facing?

This one hasn’t got much wear because… something. It’s in the mending pile and I can’t remember why. Hem, I think? Also it wrinkles easily and gets covered in cat hair as soon as you look at it. But I think, since it’s quite a light drill, it might see more action in the warmer months. I did a very dodgy lapped zipper:

I flat felled the seams, which was my first time doing that. I liked it! Except that it makes it hard/impossible to adjust. And this skirt needs it – I panicked when I sewed it that I’d made it too tight, but TURNS OUT I just shouldn’t try on things with a fitted waist after dessert on the second night of craft camp… It’s actually a bit loose. The curse of the delicious dinners. The next one I made is also a bit loose:

In denim with a slight stretch, from Rathdowne Remnants I think. I’ve had it for years. And with scraps for the facing, and an exposed zipper

Which I had to attach a hook and eye to because otherwise it slides down.

And it currently sits a bit funny – the zipper I mean, but the whole skirt too. Folds at the front and the zipper and sticks out at the sides.

I think actually it would benefit from coming in a couple cm at the back zip, tapering out to nothing. But since the exposed zipper was a pain to sew, and I just serged to finish the edges, and then sewed a regular seam, I think I will go the lazy route of just sucking in the side seams… eventually. Mending ain’t my favourite thing, obviously.

And that brings me up to speed!


2 thoughts on “Better late than etc

  1. Ugh, I’m with you on how fluctuating weights can be so annoying for sewing! For the longest time, it made me sew almost nothing but knits because at least I knew those would fit whether I gained or lost 5 pounds!

    And it’s funny because I had a similar experience on Anna as you…took the time to do a proper FBA, got it to a good place on my muslins, set it aside for a bit, and then bam, the thing was a sack and the upper chest was HUGE on me. I hope you figure out the issues with yours! Mine got thrown in a corner and I decided I’ll just start from scratch some other day.

Whadya reckon?

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